The world is profane and sacred. It must be swallowed whole.
There is always more to be known about it than you can ever know.
Margaret Atwood in her introduction to
Alice Munro’s Best: Selected Stories
Alice Munro-Nobel Literature Winner-2013
Which forms are part of essence of a practice? Is essence dependent on the origin? Can the essence remain same in different forms? These questions when posed on the nature of Christianity made me think about the visible forms of lives of common people in post revolutionary Libya.
North Africa has a long tradition of Christian practice. As the Christmas season comes, Christians of different denominations come and pray in the different churches around Tripoli. This year, there have been several attacks on Christian places of worship in Libya. We had some discussions on the nature of Christian faith and this led to the question of Visibility
Historical narratives generally talk about those practices which are visible in the public sphere. How did the common people live their lives? These questions do not usually form part of the historical narrative. The answer regarding the essence of a practice will depend on the forms of Christianity. Does it mean the institutions, churches, consular decisions, structures of authority or do we focus on the nature of piety, forms of prayer, the quiet witness of married life or celibate existence. These quiet forms of practice are existing even when the public visible forms are suppressed.
In this context I remember that Christians of different denominations in Tripoli, ranging from the San Francisco Catholic Church at Dahra, to St George Greek Orthodox Church of Medina to the Anglican church of Medina or Copts or Philippino church in Suani follow their faith in private in pretty similar manner.
KNOWN AND UNKNOWN
As we look back at the year, I recall the letter of my friend Alvaro Bettuchi and remember a fellow-practitioner of faith and family of the 19th and early half of 20th century.
Born on June 29, 1857 at Castel di Casio, whose father was Giovanni Michele Bettucchi and mother Catrina Taglioli. On June 2, 1878, there was an anti-lighting wire hanging from the side of the “Asinelli” towers, which are located in the center of the city of Bologna. In less than 15 minutes, he climbed to the top and descended the 100 meters outside the wall of the tower. He was arrested by the local authorities, but later released. He wed Luigia Delle Fabriche, who was born in 1866 and died in Tripoli on Jan. 19, 1931. In Tripoli, Libya, where Pietro emigrated, he formed a construction company, together with his son Pietro and daughter Margherita. He died in Tripoli on Dec. 25, 1933. He and his wife are buried in a private chapel within the Christian Cemetery at Gargarish, Tripoli.
Interacting with his descendants gave me a better feel of Tripoli through the centuries and added to Margaret Atwood’s words
“There is always more to be known about it than you can ever know.”
Do you know any such story of a past family or friend in a place where you live, which added to your knowledge of the feel of the place?
Other blogs of interest
2011 December- Tripoli Reading Group-Year End meeting
2008-December-Enrich your life-by a Read a day